NFL: Bullying scandal continues to grip USA

Last Updated: 12/11/13 11:23pm

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Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross plans to meet Jonathan Martin, who quit the team after allegations of bullying by teammates.

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The bullying scandal that has rocked the NFL and Miami Dolphins continues to keep America gripped.

In the latest twist, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has postponed his talk with Jonathan Martin about his allegations of bullying.

"We have reports of cases. The problem is the worry of what happens to the whistleblower? Is he victimised afterwards? It's not just a matter of making a complaint. It's a matter of looking after it properly and making sure there are no recriminations."
Gordon Taylor

Ross was due to meet with Martin, who left the team at the end of last month and later claimed he was the victim of verbal and racist abuse, on Wednesday.

The NFL last week appointed Ted Wells, a well-known New York attorney with experience in sports cases, to investigate possible misconduct in the workplace in the wake of the unfolding harassment scandal.

"Ted Wells and the National Football League have asked that we delay our meeting with Jonathan Martin until they have the opportunity to meet with him," Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel said.

"Out of deference to the process, we will cooperate with their request. We look forward to meeting with Jonathan as soon as possible."

Ross said the issue, and the subsequent worldwide attention has been his "worst nightmare."

Miami has already indefinitely suspended Martin's fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito, who was singled out by the former's representatives for abusive behaviour.

Incognito says the 'abuse' was just banter though he concedes that he took it too far.

The story has caused American sport to examine whether the Martin case is just the tip of the iceberg.

Similar cases

There have been no such public scandals in the UK in recent memory, but that is not to say bullying does not exist.

Sky Sports News asked Professional Footballers Association chief executive Gordon Taylor whether similar cases exist in football in England and he believes that they do, but that players are reluctant to come forward because they are scared of the consequences.

He said: "We have reports of cases. The problem is the worry of what happens to the whistleblower? Is he victimised afterwards? It's not just a matter of making a complaint. It's a matter of looking after it properly and making sure there are no recriminations."

The Rugby Football Union believes its sport does not have a problem with bullying.

Steve Grainger, RFU development manager, said: "I don't think it's an issue. It's very unlikely it's going to happen. Those core values, the inclusivity of the sport, the welcoming environment that we create in rugby...are things we drill right through our coaching programme, our refereeing programme and the programmes that we run for our clubs..."

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